Photographing pandemics, the faces of teenage martyrs and the power of the image

Posted by Mike Walsh

Apr 15, 2016 12:00:00 AM



Kristen Ashburn is an award-winning documentary photographer and humanitarian, whose photographs and stories from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa have appeared in many publications worldwide. She began photographing the impact of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa in 2001 and released a book of this work in 2009 entitled I Am Because We Are with a forward by Madonna. Ashburn's work has also taken her to Iraq a year following the US-led invasion; Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, New Orleans after Katrina, Haiti after the quake and Russia to cover the spread of MDR-tuberculosis in the penal system. Over coffee in Miami, Kristen shared with me the story of how she went from shooting fashion in New York to capturing images of global crisis, and why, even in this age of Instagram, the photo retains a persistent power to give voice to the voiceless and inspire collective action.


CATEGORY: Global, Arts & Culture

Luxury retail, Chinese consumers and embryonic markets

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jan 26, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Paul Husband


Paul Husband is one of the world’s leading experts on luxury and retail in Asia. Co-author of the book, ‘The Cult of The Luxury Brand’, Paul helps brands understand the scale and dynamics of the Asian luxury goods market. If you have ever been to a luxury mall in either Hong Kong or Shanghai, chances are, you are in a building of retail experiences that Paul helped curate and bring to life. Catching up in his offices in central Hong Kong, we talked about the future of luxury, experiential retail and emerging technologies, super-malls in Dubai, the challenges of communicating global brands to Asian consumers, and the growth potential of new markets from Dubai to Sri Lanka.


CATEGORY: Luxury, Global

Miami startups, kidnap insurance and emerging market innovation

Posted by Mike Walsh

Dec 6, 2015 12:00:00 AM



This weekend marks the start of the Miami high season, with Art Basel and the attendant influx of well-heeled collectors, bored oligarchs, and international jetset in search of fun, sun and an excuse for a good party. But that’s not the only reason why the world is watching Miami. The city is becoming an emerging hub for high tech companies, especially those with a focus on the Hispanic market. German Montoya, a former McKinsey consultant, and Nabyl Charania, a mathematician who founded software developer Decipher Labs, are at the heart of Florida’s new tech renaissance. Their new venture, Rokk3r Labs, is a collective of engineers, creatives, and strategists who are trying to accelerate the process of launching new companies. Catching up in their offices in South Beach, I spoke with German about emerging market innovation, local solutions with global potential, the challenge of scaling global venture investment, the future of geofencing, and why truly great ideas can come from everywhere, not just Palo Alto.



CATEGORY: Global, Venture Capital

Astro Boy, Bitcoin and the art of keeping a ramen notebook

Posted by Mike Walsh

Aug 15, 2015 12:00:00 AM



Michael Keferl runs the Tokyo office of the global innovation consultancy, Mandalah. But I knew him from the early 2000s, when he was the genius behind one of my favourite, and in fact, one of the most popular blogs in the world at that time - CScout Japan. CScout was the go-to emporium for all things weird and wonderfully Japanese. When we caught up in Tokyo, Michael gave me a behind the scenes tour of the city’s latest retail, technology and subcultural trends. Later that day, sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Shibuya, we debriefed on what we saw, discussing the evolution of mobile technology and payments in Japan, interactivity and politeness, why ramen fanatics keep notebooks, Astro Boy’s influence on modern robotics, the fall of Mt Gox, and why this tiny island continues to be a source of inspiration to innovators.


CATEGORY: Retail, Global

Mobile gaming, galapagos phones and the rise of LINE

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jul 12, 2015 12:00:00 AM



Visiting Tokyo is like stepping off a subway station into a parallel universe of strange technologies, animated characters and perfectly wrapped pieces of fruit. Long before the iPhone existed, Japan led the world in smartphone technology and gaming. To this day, it remains a primordial soup of emerging consumer trends and digital innovations. One of my key contacts in Tokyo is Serkan Toto. German by birth, he has been based in Japan since 2004 and runs a game industry consultancy called Kantan Games. I’m not the only one to enjoy talking to Serkan - he has been quoted everywhere from the New York Times to Techcrunch. In our conversation we chatted about the future of mobile games, the curious persistence of flip phones in Japan, and why a Korean communications company decided to incubate the global messaging hit, LINE, in the country that infamously asked the world to say, Hello Kitty.


CATEGORY: Gaming, Global